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Reading 1-4 Fulham: The Alternative View

A lesson in how not to defend, how not to tackle, and a distinct lack of cohesion.

Cardiff City v Fulham - Sky Bet Championship - Cardiff City Stadium Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images

Ouch. That’s pretty much the total sum-up of that game. Reading have a fairly good record against Fulham and it came crashing down in one of the most abject first-half performances I have seen at the Madejski Stadium. Ok so there have been some pretty horrific away performances but to put on this display in front of our own fans was simply rubbish.

Many will point to the red card and John Swift being “unlucky” or “slipped”. The problem I have with this is that if you’re on a yellow for a crude challenge, why oh why give referee a decision to make? As a professional footballer, yes sometimes you’re unlucky - that for me was simply a player losing the plot.

However, even being a player down does not excuse the lack of organisation, discipline and positional awareness that gave Fulham all the space they needed. You can’t give a decent team the space we did and expect not to get thumped.

The Fulham fans understandably were ecstatic. After a run which had seen them become the draw kings, this result has buoyed and cajoled the fans into belief. However, there were still a few non-committal tweets from the Fulham fans as to some of the players - beggars belief really…

Social

Commonly called losing your head

Points to a two-man team

You’re right - stop

Pretty much sums it up

Yeah... #Drinkaware

Every #ReadingFC fan on Tuesday night

Think the phrase is “gutted”

Just a little embarrassing…

Pretty rubbish actually…

Media

Well you can imagine that what follows doesn’t make good reading for Royals fans. The Daily Mail pick us up for I think the first time this season - they exude praise for Fulham, call Swift rash, saying that the challenge on Odoi could have been a red in its own right. They also go on calling Fulham “relentless” which is pretty hard to argue with.

For the masochist out there, Sky Sports have 2m01 of highlights - well, four goals which show how terrible Reading’s defence was, Swift’s “tackle” and a stunner from Yakou Meite. Their report basically goes round the “it was comfortable for Fulham” route.

Fulham website The Hammy End are, as you would expect, gushing with praise for their team. One stat that I never saw was that this was Fulham’s first win at Reading for 11 years, which makes it even more annoying to lose in this fashion. They also go on to say that this was a mismatch from the off, and Fulham were always in control - oh for Meite to score that early chance.

The London Evening Standard follow the same path as everyone else, but use the phrase “ruthless”. They also carry a comprehensive interview with Scott Parker who understandably was happy with his side’s display.

The two Reading local media outlets paint a dismal picture of the side at the moment. GetReading’s player ratings are horrible, with Liam Moore and Michael Morrison getting some of the lowest marks for a player not sent off that I have seen. Courtney Friday asks some difficult questions that we are all wondering about.

Finally, down at the BBC, they carry pretty much the same story as everyone else with their usual factual report, along with interviews with Jose Gomes and Parker. Yep, if you haven’t guessed as much, I am truly fed up reading reviews about how rubbish we are!

Final thoughts

There’s no way to dress this up - we are in a mess. In August on paper we had one of the strongest squads we have had for years, but what showed on the pitch on Tuesday was one of the most dismal displays that a Reading FC team have put on.

The team is rock bottom on confidence, the positional play is appalling and passing is atrocious. The form we are in is desperate, and defeats such as away at Middlesbrough - where arguably we were unlucky - have masked the true issues with this team. Gomes has become a modern-day tinkerman, continually changing the team, the formation and the tactics, which in my opinion seems to have confused the fans, let alone the players.

As you would expect Twitter exploded after the game - many calling for Gomes to lose his job. My thoughts on this is that this is far too premature, he needs time but does need to stop messing around trying to find the perfect squad and get some consistency. We have had far too many chops and changes with managers probably since Brian McDermott left the first time. We need stability and a bit of patience, as changing the manager every time it gets rough simply isn’t working.

We have another tricky game on Saturday away at Bristol City, and knowing Reading they will pull a performance out and everything will be happy and rosy. If they don’t, I hate to think what the reaction will be.